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Vatican City
Country Italy
State Rome
City Vatican City
Type of Location Multiple
About the Location  

Vatican City is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy.It has an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres) and a population of just over 800.This makes Vatican City the smallest independent state in the world by area and also the world's least populated.Vatican City was established in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri on behalf of the Holy See and by Prime Minister Benito Mussolini on behalf of the Kingdom of Italy.Vatican City State is distinct from the Holy See which dates back to early Christianity and is the main episcopal see of 1.2 billion Latin and Eastern Catholic adherents around the globe.Ordinances of Vatican City are published in Italian; official documents of the Holy See are issued mainly in Latin.The two entities have distinct passports: the Holy See not being a country issues only diplomatic and service passports, whereas Vatican City State issues normal passports.In each case very few passports are issued.

Vatican City is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state, ruled by the Bishop of Rome—the Pope.The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergymen of various national origins.It is the sovereign territory of the Holy See (Sancta Sedes) and the location of the Pope's residence, referred to as the Apostolic Palace.The Popes have generally resided in the area that in 1929 became Vatican City since the return from Avignon in 1377, but have also at times resided in the Quirinal Palace in Rome and elsewhere.Previously they resided in the Lateran Palace on the Caelian Hill on the far side of Rome from the Vatican.Emperor Constantine gave this site to Pope Miltiades in 313.The signing of the agreements that established the new state took place in the latter building, giving rise to the name of Lateran Pacts by which they are known.

   
How to Reach  

By Air

As Vatican City has no airports it is one of the few independent states in the world without one, except for the aforementioned heliport it is served by the airports that serve the city of Rome within which the Vatican is located namely: Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport and to a lesser extent, Ciampino Airport which both serve as the departure gateway for the Pope's international visits.

By Train

There is a short 852 meter 1,435 mm (standard gauge) railway that connects to surrounding Italy's network at the Saint Peter's station in the capital of Rome.Vatican City railway station was designed by architect Giuseppe Momo and was constructed during the reign of Pope Pius XI after the conclusion of the Lateran Treaties and opened in 1933 but now houses shops.The railway was originally planned to transport pilgrims as was intended during the reign of Pius XI, but has only been rarely used to transport passengers.Pope John XXIII was the first to make use of the railway and Pope John Paul II was known to have used it as well very rarely.The railway is mainly used only to transport freight.Rome Metro line A passes the country at Ottaviano and Cipro-Musei Vatican.Both stops are a ten minute walk away from the city-state.

By Car

Vehicle registration plates of official road vehicles registered in Vatican City use the prefix SCV followed by a series of digits while vehicle registration plates of residential road vehicles registered in Vatican City use the prefix CV followed by a series of digits.The international identification plate/sticker is V.The Pope's car carries the registration SCV 1 in red lettering.As there is more than one vehicle used to transport the Pope, multiple registered vehicles in Vatican City use the SCV 1 registration plate.

   
Key places to visit  
Apostolic Palace,Vatican Gardens,St. Peter's Basilica,Sistine Chapel,Vatican Museums,Saint Peter's Square,Museo Pio-Clementino,Museo Chiaramonti
Places to Visit  

Apostolic Palace

is the official residence of the Pope, which is located in Vatican City.It is also known as the Sacred Palace, the Papal Palace and the Palace of the Vatican.The Vatican itself refers to the building as the Palace of Sixtus V in honor of Pope Sixtus V.The ancient Vatican Palace had fallen into disrepair during the period of the Avignon Papacy, when the popes did not reside in Rome.In 1436 the Spanish traveller Pedro Tafur found it still in poor condition: "The Pope's dwelling is a mediocre place and when I was there it was ill-kept".Construction of the current version of the palace began on 30 April 1589 under Pope Sixtus V and its various intrinsic parts completed by later successors, Pope Urban VII, Pope Innocent XI and Pope Clement VIII.In the 15th century, the Apostolic palace was placed under the authority of the prefect of the Apostolic palace.

Vatican Gardens

is a garden in Vatican City are urban gardens and parks which cover more than half of the Vatican territory in the South and Northeast.There are some buildings such as Radio Vatican within the gardens.The gardens cover approximately 23 hectares which is most of the Vatican Hill.The highest point is 60 metres (200 ft) above mean sea level.Stone walls bound the area in the North, South and West.The gardens and parks were established during the Renaissance and Baroque era and are decorated with fountains and sculptures.There are several springs under the earth which as of 2009 are not in use.There is a wide variety of flora and the area is considered a biotope.

St. Peter's Basilica

is a Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City.Saint Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world.While it is neither the official mother church of the Roman Catholic Church nor the cathedral of the Pope as Bishop of Rome, Saint Peter's is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic sites.It has been described as "holding a unique position in the Christian world" and as "the greatest of all churches of Christendom".St. Peter's is famous as a place of pilgrimage for its liturgical functions and for its historical associations.It is associated with the papacy with the Counter-reformation and with numerous artists most significantly Michelangelo.As a work of architecture it is regarded as the greatest building of its age.Contrary to popular misconception, Saint Peter's is not a cathedral as it is not the seat of a bishop.It is properly termed a papal basilica.The Archbasilica of St. John Lateran is the cathedral church of Rome.

Sistine Chapel

is the best-known chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope in Vatican City.It is famous for its architecture and its decoration that was frescoed throughout by Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio and others.Under the patronage of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo painted (12,000 sq ft) of the chapel ceiling between 1508 and 1512.He resented the commission and believed his work only served the Pope's need for grandeur.However today the ceiling and especially The Last Judgment (1535–1541) is widely believed to be Michelangelo's crowning achievement in painting.As with most buildings measured internally absolute measurement is hard to ascertain.However the general proportions of the chapel are clear to within a few centimeters.The length is the measurement and has been divided by three to get the width and by two to get the height.Maintaining the ratio, there were six windows down each side and two at either end.The screen that divides the chapel was originally placed halfway from the altar wall, but this has changed.Clearly defined proportions were a feature of Renaissance architecture and reflected the growing interest in the Classical heritage of Rome.

Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums originated as a group of sculptures collected by Pope Julius II (1503-1513) and placed in what today is the Cortile Ottagono within the museum complex.The popes were among the first sovereigns who opened the art collections of their palaces to the public thus promoting knowledge of art history and culture.As seen today the Vatican Museums are a complex of different pontifical museums and galleries that began under the patronage of the popes Clement XIV (1769-1774) and Pius VI (1775-1799).In fact the Pio-Clementine Museum was named after these two popes who set up this first major curatorial section.Later Pius VII (1800-1823) considerably expanded the collections of Classical Antiquities to which he added the Chiaromonti Museum and the Braccio Nuovo gallery.He also enriched the Epigraphic Collection which was conserved in the Lapidary Gallery.

Saint Peter's Square

is located directly in front of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, the papal enclave within Rome (the Piazza borders to the East the rione of Borgo).St. Peter's Square today can be reached from the Ponte Sant'Angelo along the grand approach of the Via della Conciliazione (in honor of the Lateran Treaty of 1929).The spina which once occupied this grand avenue leading to the square was demolished ceremonially by Benito Mussolini himself on October 23, 1936 and was completely demolished by October 8, 1937.St. Peter's Basilica was now freely visible from the Castel Sant Angelo.The effect of its demolition however was to destroy the characteristic Baroque surprise.The Via della Conciliazione was completed in time for the Great Jubilee of 1950.

Museo Pio-Clementino

Pope Clement XIV founded the Pio-Clementino Vatican museum in 1771 and originally it contained the Renaissance and antique works.The museum and collection were enlarged by Clement's successor Pius VI.Today, the museum houses works of Greek and Roman sculpture.There are 54 galleries or salas in total with the Sistine Chapel, notably, being the very last sala within the Museum – visitors need to proceed through the other 53 salas before earning their reward with access to the Sistine.

Museo Chiaramonti

This museum is named after Pope Pius VII (whose last name was Chiaramonti before his election as pope) who founded it in the early 19th century.The museum consists of a large arched gallery in which sides are exhibited several statues, sarcophaguses and friezes.The New Wing, Braccio Nuovo built by Raphael Stern, houses important statues like The Prima Porta Augustus and The River Nile.Galeria Lapidaria is another part of Chiaramonti museum with more than 3,000 stone tablets and inscriptions which is the world's greatest collection of its kind.However it is opened only by special permission usually for reasons of study.

   
Right Time to Visit  

July - September

Temperature  

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